From £19,425
Seat Exeo estate is well-priced and capable

Our Verdict

Seat Exeo 2009-2013
Seat reskins Audi’s old A4 to offer a cut-price executive saloon

Is the Seat Exeo anything more than a reheated Audi A4?

  • First Drive

    Seat Exeo Sport 2.0 TDI

    It’s still an endearing, capable and well equipped option that’s worth giving serious consideration to
  • First Drive

    Seat Exeo 2.0 TDI Multitronic

    Adding an automatic gearbox makes the Exeo easier to drive at only a small cost to performance and economy

What is it?

In our very first drive of the Seat Exeo saloon we said the 168bhp diesel estate could be a tempting proposition. Here it is.

Seat's Exeo saloon is a car in touch with the times. It was quick and cheap to develop, based heavily on the outgoing Audi A4 as it is, and it's cheaper than most of its key rivals to buy.

Like the saloon, the Exeo estate (badged ST) is available in SE and Sport forms, the latter with firmer and lower suspension, though we've driven the SE which is probably more suited to the load lugger's character.

What's it like?

Well, we say load lugger, but carrying lots of stuff was never an A4 Avant strong point. Sixty per cent of buyers' primary reason for buying one was because they liked the way it looked.

It didn't then matter that the A4 had only 442 litres of boot space. Does it matter more now the car has been unpremiumed? Probably.

The Exeo's seats-up boot volume is 50 litres shy of a Citroen C5 tourer's, and almost 100 short of a Mondeo wagon's. Seats down it has a 1184 litre volume, several hundred litres short of its best rivals, but the seat backs fold quickly and the loadbay is free from intrusion.

The Exeo is less deficient in other areas. It respectively rides less comfortably than the Citroen and is less dynamic than the Ford, but is far from poor in either area and has an appealing blend of qualities.

The Exeo handles tidily, if nose heavily, and is blessed with accurate and responsive steering, which is pleasingly weighted. On this softer suspension setting it shrugs away most surface imperfections capably too although, in fairness, the roads we've tried it on were generally well-surfaced.

By dint of being derived from a car that first went on sale almost a decade ago, the Exeo also feels manageably and welcomely compact by the bloated standards of modern family estates. It also feels quite brisk, with plenty of overtaking grunt from the flexible and quiet common rail diesel.

Should I buy one?

With its classy A4 Cabriolet derived interior, the Exeo ST would have merit even at the same price as its key rivals. That it outpowers similarly priced ones, and outprices similarly powered ones, makes it particularly compelling.

Join the debate


5 June 2009

Nice car, if it sported a prestige badge (can`t think of a make at the moment) it would be the perfect car. Never mind.

5 June 2009

How about 4WD, 4.2 V8 Cupra version for say, £29,999?

5 June 2009

I know someone who drives a Mondeo estate , and he certainly wouldn't swap it for this . Then again , he needs to be able to carry two or three photocopiers around with him. For private buyers it looks attractive.

5 June 2009

Nice car. It's well built, well equipped, and keenly priced. Add into the mix decent performance and economy with adequate (if not brilliant) handling prowess and you have an almost perfect car.

What a shame then that there's such a noticeable lack of space. I'm over 6 feet tall, and the cabin is just too cramped. Passengers don't fare much better either, and luggage capacity is matched if not bettered by most rivals.

5 June 2009

[quote Quattro369]How about 4WD, 4.2 V8 Cupra version for say, £29,999?[/quote]

Sounds perfect :p love the sound of that :D

7 June 2009

Another VAG group product review where the comments expose how the UK public have been hoodwinked into believing - or simply want to believe - that they're looking at a reliable car, when in fact pretty much any data from any source here or in the US reveals they're some of the least dependable automobiles made.

From What Car?'s Reliability Supertest 2008

24th of 30
Last year's position 20th of 26
Cars needing repair work 38%

26th of 30
Last year's position 23rd of 26
Cars needing repair work 39%

The worst performers (faults per 1000)
Audi A6 '94-'97 54
Seat Alhambra '96-'00 55
Audi Cabriolet '92-'00 57

Citroën Synergie '95-'02 57
Land Rover Freelander '97-'00 57
Audi Allroad '00-'0561
Mercedes-Benz S-Class '06 71
Renault Espace '97-'0271
Alfa Romeo GTV '96-'03 77
Jaguar XK8 '96-'06 78

The only quality you're going to feel is that of the tow truck.

7 June 2009

According to Whatcar's 'supertest':

20th of 30
Last year's position 15th of 26
Cars needing repair work 32%

22nd of 30
Last year's position 19th of 26
Cars needing repair work 33%

24th of 30
Last year's position 20th of 26
Cars needing repair work 38%

26th of 30
Last year's position 23rd of 26
Cars needing repair work 39%

If the Whatcar report were trustful, then why the Seat Alhambra isn't nearby followed by the VW Sharan or the Ford Galaxy mkI ?

All those three models are in almost every part the same car, built all three of them in the same factory in Portugal (VW, SEAT, Ford).

I feel sorry to tell but I have seriously lots of doubts about all those conclusions coming out from Whatcar's reliability or satisfaction reviews (like the poll they have conducted with JD power) and I wonder in fact whether THIS is the case where 'the UK public have been hoodwinked into believing' several things...

Futhermore, there happen to be other surveys like the one from DEKRA showing ie. that the SEAT Altea/XL/Toledo is the most reliable in its class (and this is certainly not a satisfaction poll ...). The same goes for Audi A6 too...

Therefore nobody can be sure about cars' reliability issues. Only speculations can be made and in every case we should be very careful since the market often uses devious means in order to achieve its goals...

(Besides that, has anyone heard during the past years serious and huge problems concerning the Audi A4's reliability in comparison to the other models of the competition? Even if the A4's reliability were that much poor (I find no reason to believe that, having no clues to do so), they had plenty of time to fix that. This is what all car manufacturers do.)

7 June 2009

[quote ThwartedEfforts]The only quality you're going to feel is that of the tow truck[/quote]

Why do people with an axe to grind always sabotage their own efforts by just going too far- You just come across as car dealer from another manufacturer, if you'd at least have been neutral you may have at least made me want to read more into what you posted- but really id rather not give you any more of my time than this reply- In my experience - most of the cars ive had have been relativley similar reliability wise with the exception of Fiat which were awful to own- whether its been a Renault,Vauxhall Honda, Mercedes, Audi. In fact a Vauxhall i had cost absolutly nothing to keep on the road and a Honda i had cost thousands in problems!. If cars are all relativley similar, it comes down to perceived quality and an attractive package, and like it or not VAG , with thier VW, Skoda, Audi, Seat, Bentley & Lamborghini (not to mention Bugatti) are constantly coming out with new cars,which people want to own. Id buy a Skoda Yeti, I own an Audi, and id love a Lambo. If other manufacturers can come up with such a comprehensive range of likeable cars good luck to them

7 June 2009

And this weeks award for least objective comment goes to...

[quote ThwartedEfforts]

The only quality you're going to feel is that of the tow truck.


Have you owned, driven, or even sat inside an Exeo?

I've owned and driven many cars and prefer to draw my own conclusions from my own experiences, rather than from a survey printed in a magazine. My experiences of VW's, Vauxhalls, Fords, Peugeots, Citroens and Land Rovers have taught me that VW products certainly aren't perfect. But then again if we were all absolutely objective we'd find that no car ever is.

Given your often ridiculously one-sided anti-VW posts, I can only assume would never buy one no matter how good it was. We could all find statistics to back up our own opinions, but if you can't be open minded your opinion is of little value.


Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Car review
    23 September 2016
    Aston kicks off its ‘second century plan’ with an all-new turbo V12 grand tourer
  • Ford Ka+ 1.2 Ti-VCT 85
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    A rounded, refined and well-sorted bargain supermini – once you’re used to the confusing role redefinition imposed on the once-cheeky Ka
  •  Maserati Ghibli Diesel
    First Drive
    22 September 2016
    Maserati releases another range of updates for its range best seller, the Ghibli. We've driven the diesel version, but there's little improvement on before
  • Tipo Front
    First Drive
    21 September 2016
    New Fiat Tipo offers impressive space and practicality for a reasonable price. We try the 1.6 diesel on the demanding roads of North Wales
  • Seat Ateca 1.4 TSI 150
    First Drive
    20 September 2016
    The Seat Ateca 1.4 TSI 150 makes perfect sense: it's spacious, tidy to drive for an SUV and cheap to run